Stretching: What are some different types of stretches? How long do you hold a stretch for? How often do you stretch? read more...

What are some different types of Stretching?

Did you know we get stiffer every year after 29 years old? We can prevent that, and even reverse it, with regular stretching.

DYNAMIC or BALLISTIC Stretch: 

Using momentum to stretch.

This type of stretching mobilises joints and nerves as they travel through muscles and fascia. In mobilising the nervous system, the body is better primed to perform, particularly if you move in directions you will need for your sport. Generally, it is better to be a little warmed up. This type of stretching is suitable for particular sports, and it is also more likely to result in injury if you are not ready for it – don’t start here!

PNF Proprioceptive neural facilitation: 

Release tension in the muscle by either contracting its opposite muscle or by contracting it first against resistance and then relaxing it.

This is a good type of stretch to do when you are recovering from injury, and there may be some inhibition of your muscles as a result. It can help to gain more range of movement than other stretches. It facilitates a quicker response. You need someone else to push against, a buddy, or use a wall. It is generally performed with a therapist or trainer.

STATIC or SUSTAINED Stretch:

Stretch is Held near the end of range for 30 secs. There is no more benefit to the muscle length by holding it after 30secs, but there may be other reasons for doing so.

This is the most common form of stretching. So often people strain and effort to get more stretch, this is one way to do it. Did you know if you just relax and breathe into the stretch you will usually  be more successful?

It is advised to stretch 5 mins a day 5 x a week for the best results. Yes, each muscle group!

This is one reason why Yoga is so useful, because it stretches multiple muscle groups at once!

MINDFUL STRETCHING…YOGA

This is where it gets interesting…

There is a 6th sense in the body called Interoception. This is that ‘gut feeling’ you get, or the feeling of hot or cold (different to touch), the sensation of the heart beating, and is part of the brain and neural system responsible for rest and digestion, and for pain modulation.

Focus on the areas you are stretching, move to the strain between “effort and ease” and breathe into the area…let me know how you go…usually 3 weeks will result in increased flexibility.

WHOLE BODY STRETCHES

Connective tissue is arranged in ‘slings’ running from head to toe. This arrangement was first discovered by Tom Meyers an anatomist. He has written an excellent book called “Anatomy Trains”. There is more in the blog on “Anatomy Trains”.

Related Resources